Monday, August 15, 2011

The Road to One Mile

Have you ever met someone who became such a dear friend that you could simply not imagine your life without them?  Well in the past few years my friend Amber has become one of those people in my life.  Her zest for life, optimism in everyone and everything, her faith in the goodness of people and her willingness to allow herself to be completely vulnerable is what makes her truly one of the most remarkable people I have ever met.  I count my blessing that her life's path brought her to Nashville and into our family of friends.  Recently we had a conversation about running that could have possibly changed my life even if just a little bit. Over the last year or so she has become an avid runner, completing the half marathon in Nashville and full marathon in Las Vegas.  Such lofty achievements really seemed out of my reach but the more we got to talking the more she convinced me that there truly is "a runner inside all of us".  As enthusiastic and supportive as she was, how could I tell her that I simply couldn't run?  After much thought and prayer on the matter, I thought it was time for this power walker to become a runner!  She gave me all the information she had started with and sent me on my way to Fleet Feet in Brentwood to be fitted with good running shoes (evidently this is a very important factor).  On my way to getting my new kicks I talked to my best friend, Nicoll.  Having just completed the half marathon herself this past spring, she was nothing but more support and motivation.  She promised me runs in the park, 5Ks we could do together and an open ear and words of advice should I ever need them!  With so much love and excitement behind what is essentially me getting over a fear of running, I felt I could really do anything so I trotted myself into the store and my journey truly began!

After being fitted by Tracey at FleetFeet I was well on my way to a new era....the running days of my life!  My biggest regret after I purchased my shoes was not buyers remorse, but rather that I had already showered and had too much to do that day to shower again but alas Monday came and my new work out routine began!  I started with a small goal, to just be able to run one mile by October (I have never in my life been able to run a mile without walking...simply put I have never been chased by a pack of rabid dogs for that long and that could be the only thing that could have made that happen). So here is my story of the road to one mile.....

Monday, August 15, 2011 - Day 1:
Today was the first day of my running/walking regiment.  I walked 3 minutes and ran 1 minute.  To my surprise it was the walking minutes that seemed to take so much longer (not to point out the obvious but I thought they would fly by and the running portion would be torture, boy was I wrong!).  Every time I ran I felt I could breath easier, but still my legs felt a little heavy....hoping that will go away with more training!  Each running minute seemed to fly by but when I pushed myself to running a minute and a half I realized there is a reason for incremental training....small steps make the goal that much more attainable!  Stay tuned for more of my running adventure!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - Day 2:
This morning I got up ready to go (as much as one can be at 5:30 in the morning) and excited about seeing how far I could go today.  Since I made the decision to try to run a mile so many people have been incredibly supportive, offering my advice on what worked for them, different things to try,websites to reference, the list really goes on and on....even my neighbor who I pass every morning while she runs stopped me this morning to offer her encouragement and tell me about what had worked for her when she started running 8 years ago!  People are honestly good and only want to help....that is so refreshing to be reminded of sometimes!

Some of the best advice I have gotten is that running really requires that you listen to your body.  Running for 1 minute doesn't mean you have to sprint for a minute.  Find your own pace and go with it.  Sometimes it may not be much more than walking but your posture is changing, you are using different muscles and your heart rate is different when you run.  Another piece of advice I have found is great is that if you can push yourself a little longer, just try.  My friend, Mary Morgan, said that when she started interval running she wouldn't stop until the car that had passed her was out of sight so they wouldn't know she had stopped.  I thought that was hysterical but tried it this morning and without realizing it had run 3 straight minutes...a true feat for me in my quest for one mile!  So today I ran 3 minutes and walked three minutes, though I threw in a couple shorter runs doing one two minute and one 1 minute run.  All in all I am feeling really good about my October goal!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - Day 3
I have found that the first running interval seems to be the easiest so it is when I really push myself to stretch the time.  I have to make rules for myself like if I check my watch and a new minute has started, then I have to keep running until that minute is over, if a car passes me I won't stop until they are out of sight and if my body tells me that one minute running is enough, then I only run for one minute!  This morning I ran for 4 straight minutes and was convinced for a brief period that I must have counted wrong because there was no way I could have done that so easily!  Most of my running intervals this morning were 3 minutes, with one 1 minute run thrown in there but it felt great and as I stood in my backyard upon my return stretching every muscle in my legs I realized that I no longer was sore, my back no longer ached, my legs no longer shook and I thought it wasn't the bed that was the cure to my soreness, it was getting back out there and running some more!

Thursday, August 18, 2011 - Day 4
After a handful of Advil yesterday afternoon and a couple glasses of wine with dinner my muscles were relaxing and my back was no longer throbbing!  This morning as I put my feet on the floor I was pleased to realize that my legs no longer shook, I could stand up straight without any pain in my back and I was ready once more to venture out for my morning run/walk.  I start each morning walking and as I approached my run I wondered if I was going to be able to do 4 minutes again like I did yesterday and this morning I surprised even myself....I ran for 5 minutes!!!! I am thrilled with the progress I am making and even more hopeful that a mile run is not simply dream but rather a future reality!

Friday, August 19, 2011 - Day 5
Today I ran 6 straight minutes and was surprised at the end when I really felt like I could have kept going!!! My running is definitely getting easier and my intervals are getting longer and longer.  I plan on taking the weekend off for our Annual End of Summer Party and hoping I don't regret that decision on Monday...stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - Day 7
After taking the weekend off for some end of the summer fun, Monday arrived and I wondered how easily I was going to be able to run.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to run 7 minutes without feeling like I was going to of the million benefits to being a non-smoker for the past (almost) 4 years!  After I finished the 7 minutes I realized that my goal of 1 mile was not too far off....the finish line was within sight!!!!  Though my later running intervals were a little more of a struggle I was not deterred, I was making progress!

This morning when I woke up and thought about an 8 minute run I was a little bit intimidated by the daunting task at hand!  With each minute that I accomplish I am amazed by the thought that if someone had told me, as Amber had, not too long ago, that I would be running close to 10 minutes straight I would have absolutely laughed in their face.  To my pleasant surprise the 8 minutes was not as painful as I expected and I realized that the goal is within reach and I couldn't be more thrilled!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - Day 8
Well I must be the most stubborn person I have ever met because today I reach a goal that I can only equate to when I quit smoking.  Something I didn't think I even had the motivation to do (not to mention didn't think I could do) just weeks ago was achieved today!  I RAN A MILE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was set to run 9 minutes today and woke wondering how hard it would truly be.  As I was running and in minute 6 I miscalculated and thought I only had two minutes left (give me a break, it was 6 in the morning) and when I realized my mistake, I became discouraged, wondering if I was really going to be able to add my minute today.  It was like when I was a child an we would be on a family road trip and (as the normal kid with a tiny bladder) I would constantly be asking when we were going to stop again to which the answer was always "15 minutes".  Well I felt like there were two minutes left, two minutes ago...if that makes any sense!  As I came close to finishing minute 8 I passed a neighbor walking the dog and something about the distraction from my time gave me that extra burst of energy and in 11 minutes and 5 seconds I ran a mile!!!!  Anyway, the point is that in a week and a half I was able to achieve a goal I had given myself a month and a half to achieve.  Not to toot my own horn but I am one proud lady....oh to hell with it....TOOT TOOT!!!   
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